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Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023

Stocks Fall on Economy Fears

Stocks ended mixed on Thursday, as crude futures seesawing throughout the session and a lukewarm reading of the index of leading economic indicators did little to soothe investors’ worries about a slowing economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 4.22, or 0.04 percent, to 10,554.93. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 1.22, or 0.1 percent, to 1,219.02. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 9.07, or 0.4 percent, to 2,136.08.

Investors were nervous about the possibility of economic growth being curtailed by high gasoline and heating oil prices. A barrel of light crude settled at $63.27, up 2 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange after falling well below $63 per barrel during the day.

And the Conference Board’s Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators rose a sluggish 0.1 percent in July, suggesting that higher oil prices and rising interest rates are slowing the nation’s economic growth prospects.

Among local companies, shares of Jamdat Mobile Inc. rose 9.8 percent to $22.41 after the L.A.-based publisher of wireless entertainment content’s stock rating was raised to “buy” from “hold” by Moors & Cabot analyst Jason Willey. Earlier in the day, Jamdat announced the launch of “Tetris” on wireless carriers LG Telecom, SK Telecom and KTF Telecom in Korea.

And International Aluminum Corp. gained 2 percent to $32.95 after the Monterey Park-based company said its profit surged in the fourth quarter as sales rose 13 percent. Net income was $4.4 million ($1.03 per diluted share), compared with $2.6 million (61 cents) a year earlier. Sales increased to $67 million from $59.3 million a year prior.

On the down side, shares of Hot Topic Inc. fell 10.6 percent to $14.14 after the City of Industry-based mall-based retailer’s second-quarter earnings missed analysts’ estimates and it cut its profit forecast for the next two quarters.

And Center Financial Corp. lost 4.6 percent to $23.34 after the Nasdaq said that its shares could be delisted because it was not in compliance with a market rule. The recent 10-Q regulatory filing for the L.A.-based holding company for Center Bank did not include a review by independent auditors or certifications of its chief executive and chief financial officer, as required by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Center Financial said it would appeal the Nasdaq notice.


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